17 Feb 2013

Election dates announced in Mali

9:35 am on 17 February 2013

Mali is to hold nationwide presidential elections on 7 July. Legislative elections will follow on 21 July, along with a presidential run-off if required.

Territorial Administration Minister Moussa Sinko Coulibaly said in the capital, Bamako, on Thursday it would be a step to stabilising the country.

Thousands of troops from France and African nations are currently in Mali.

Elections were due in Mali in April 2012, but a coup the month before threw the country into disarray.

Last month, interim President Dioncounda Traore said he hoped elections would be held on 31 July.

France wants to start withdrawing its 4000 soldiers from the former colony next month. The BBC reports it would like the mission to become a UN peacekeeping operation as soon as possible.